Looking at a Favorite

I had fun with this one as is fitting because it is the last of the prompts that Kim Hawke had put forth for May. These last two of Kim’s MMPP prompts were: Write a poem for or about Beltane (or the midpoint between vernal equinox and summer solstice) and Write a piece in the style of your favorite poet, or about your favorite poet. I love Carl Sandburg. We had to memorize a poem for 7th grade English and I wanted to memorize “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg. I had found it in an anthology on my parent’s bookcase. My teacher, Miss Watson, felt the theme was too mature and my classmates wouldn’t understand it. Instead she approved a much shorter Sandburg poem “Fog” which was easy – too easy I thought! So for your reading pleasure my take on Sandburg’s style and interpretation of Beltane in the industrialized world…

I squint into the sun of the blast furnace
The roar of the fire fierce but the men more so
The heat intensifies the hunger and the thirst
And we toil making our own tribute to Beltane
The flame is mine, the god of iron and steel is mine
And the boys jump between crucibles
Leap past molten metal between slag showers
Shovel coke and sweat the dust from our faces
Wear flowers of soot and char while we dance
We sing as a raging inferno pounding iron
Listen to our song of spark and sizzle

Looking for the Light

The painter’s dream, “Do as you wish”
A match of talent to visual sight
Painting seas without seeing the fish
Painting faces but focusing the light

Rembrandt and Turner tried over time
To dovetail their vision to canvas and oil
Illuminate age beneath the grime
A sea turned violent crash and roil

The hybrid artist Rothko to retain
Luminosity in rectangular blocks
Tossed out oils and turned to stain
Looks outside and within the box

On closer inspection one can find
The otter’s scrawl and fish tail print
The light and vision intertwined
In bold shape and stark pigment

Here is another offering for the MMPP by Kim Hawke. This time I wrestled with the prompts: The artist Mark Rothko admired Rembrandt and Turner. Do as you wish with any combination, or all three, of those remarkable men. Or pick two of your favorite artists and Employ these words: post, otter, hybrid, match, dovetail. What I knew about Rembrandt and Turner was confined to a long ago art appreciation class. Rothko was an artist that was only on the periphery of my awareness. When I looked him up I have to admit my first thought was “This is Mondrian without my glasses on.” The more I read the more it became apparent that the 3 artists were all obsessed with trying to capture light. Rembrandt was able to show the light emanating from the individual, a pale reflection of the “divine spark”. Turner wanted to demonstrate the light that is pervasive in the natural world. And Rothko? He wanted to show that same light without the hindrances of the physical forms in nature or man – it is my sense that he wanted the people to see a reflection of that light in their minds. Okay. This is just my interpretation and probably not as informed or academic as many others – but I stand by it.

Looking at My Hobby

Quick like a bunny
Sprint across the green
Looking for a treasure
The log book pristine

Making the first to find
I do a victory dance
Hide the cache for others
And to another one I prance

Faster than a rabbit
Another first to find
Sign the log with glee
Leave my name behind

So here is another prompt in the MMPP prompts by Kim Hawke – Poem us your favorite hobby or passion.

As you might know I love to geocache. It is a great way to go places and see things off the beaten path. I’ve talked about some of the phrases we used when the boys were young and “quick like a bunny” is one of them. It seemed only appropriate when we first started caching and a new cache published that we would employ that same phrase as we hustled out the door hoping to be the First To Find (FTF). With several thousand finds under our belts we no longer feel the need to kill ourselves to rush for a FTF. If we get lucky enough to be FTF then we celebrate but we are not dashing off while supper gets cold or skipping appointments!!

Looking for Quantum Entanglements

Once again Kim Hawke’s MMPP has truly kicked me in the pants. The first prompt I considered was: Explore the quantum, in whichever version appeals to you. After mulling that over for 2 weeks I stared to compose only to have another prompt: Investigate mothers sneak into my mental gymnastics. I present a Kyrielle.

A mother’s love creates a bond
Within the womb and far beyond
Love two souls entwine and cement
A strong quantum entanglement

A daughter knows her mother’s voice
With hugs and kisses will rejoice
Know near or far the heart’s intent
A strong quantum entanglement

We know not how or why its so
Through time and space all mothers know
If the babe is ill or content
A strong quantum entanglement

Death comes knocking upon our door
Parts the embrace for evermore
The soul in joy will not lament
A strong quantum entanglement

Looking into the Mathematics of Poetry

For MMPP Kim issued a prompt asking the question – “If math is a language, like music, can it be poem-ed? Math poem. Go.” So I was considering all the ways to approach this and though “What about a Fibonacci sequence poem?” Then Promisesunshine beat me to it. Not wanting to be a copy cat, I had to delve further and further into poetic forms and *gasp* mathematical theory. So there are rules and then there are theories about what is presumed to be the rules. In the world of science, mathematics, and (especially including) physics the rules are based on observation and deduction supported by calculations based on demonstrated laws. Over time these laws have been modified and sometimes radically changed. Are you still following? So the bottom line is that what is can become what was and replaced by a newer version of what we think (at the time) is truth.

I really do not want to open that can of worms and go spelunking through philosophy. So I’m going back to math. You see math and I have an uneasy truce. I won’t poke it and it promised not to poke me. Now the idea of a math poem brings me to the concept of an ekphrastic poem (another prompt). The strict interpretation of ekphrastic poetry is a descriptive poem of a physical work of art such as a Grecian urn (Thank you John Keats). But poets have never been ones to stick strictly to the rules. Which is why there are so few mathematician poets. So to bend the rules I will make the assumption that ekphrastic poetry can not only describe 2D and 3D arts (paintings and sculptures) but can include the feelings engendered by viewing said works. I would further theorize that the feelings can be transferred to the elegant and possibly the most artful of of mathematical fields – geometry and calculus.

Interval Exploration

The ends of my world
Are joined in a circle that is
Made of irrational values
Circular emotions spin in
An orbit making infinite
Revolutions within a
Circumscribed square
I am trying with all my
Strength to find the set
Of all numbers that are true
For my interval such that
The angles of my world
Are multiples of two
The solution for
My intersection
My circular soul
Which careens in a box
In the circle of reality
Is to multiply two by
Which gives me the only

For all of you who managed to get through that without having a mental collapse, I just want you to know how I’m feeling after finishing this prompt – yeah this

Looking at Artists

She is fragile as a mosquito
A quiet hum as she thinks
Crunching fruit of the caimito
His anger rises the more he drinks
With dragonfly speed he grabs
As anger flashes in her eyes
Pain in her wrist stabs
She can see only his lies
A color explosion of flowers
Shattered vase against the wall
But the dragonfly devours
The woman in the butterfly shawl

Here are some more MMPP prompts: Write about dragonflies and another beast or beasts and imagine Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera having lunch. I knew that Frida had health issues and I knew that her husband Diego was at the time of her marriage a famous and successful artist twice her age. I also knew that both of them took a rather relaxed view of marriage vows for themselves but not for their spouse. Their marriage is described as passionate, tumultuous, and violent depending on the source. Both had what is stereotypically called the artist disposition. I imagine they lacked a lot of self control and were both head-strong and volatile. Frida was likely in pain most of the time leading to a sharp tongue and a short fuse. Diego was likely a manipulative and domineering man. Together I can imagine a predator/prey relationship that lent itself to spontaneous combustion…

Looking at an American Writer

Kim’s MMPP prompt: What if Hemingway wrote a haibun? is one that has challenged me in many ways. First I just don’t like Hemingway. Second, I’ve been required to read some of his works (for college) which was painful.

What if Hemingway wrote a haibun? I doubt he would. He was too masculine. He’d make a mess of it by using obscenities. Using lewd situations. Having unsympathetic characters. Getting too drunk to notice. Yes, too falling down to see the poetry of the trees or sky. He would fixate on the sea and the struggle of man to dominate. Men to dominate. Women, water, the reason for living. He liked war. Was drawn to violence and conflict. A moth to a flame. Wars and wounds and excuses for failure. He liked the fame and the thrill of the hunt. He hunted big game and women. Managed to bag four of them. He loved. But mostly he loved the whiskey and soda. Unless he was in Havana, then he had a mojito or daiquiri. That or the pain. Burns, brokenness, rejection, cruelty, greed, betrayal. Being the betrayer. At the end I suspect it was the Champagne and absinthe that prevented a haibun or precipitated the suicide.

For whom the bell tolls
Unintentional brilliance
The sun rises too

Looking to Chant, Chant, Chant

So I’m not going to play fair. Yep I’m breaking all the rules. Here is a Chant poem for Kim’s Merry May Poetry Play (hereafter referred to a MMPP) using her prompts (yes I’m combining prompts) – Take us camping. On Mars. and Use these words in a poem: fugue, Iris, narwhal, clay.

Whether on Earth or Mars
Camping is not my thing

I sleep in a bed not under the stars
Camping is not my thing

Discovery narwhal nature play
Camping is not my thing

I want no part of dirt or red clay
Camping is not my thing

Iris and daisies in a vase
Camping is not my thing

In a fugue to land in this place
Camping is not my thing

Where red planet desolation sing
Camping is not my thing

Desperation from red clay spring
Camping is not my thing

Growing up we NEVER went camping as a family. My only camping experiences were with the GSA. For the most part they were fun except for the poison ivy, wasps, mosquitoes, sunburn and assorted horrors of the outhouse – at least in the summer. The winter camping was almost deadly as we camped in subzero temperatures and shivered our way through the night. We were all looking forward to a warm camp fire in the morning but that didn’t happen. Instead we all got our homemade sterno cans (made from cardboard in a tuna can) lit and placed under the upside down coffee can to make our griddle to make bacon and fried eggs. The only warm part of our little bodies were our tongues that we nearly burned off trying to gobble that breakfast before it froze! I can imagine camping on Mars would be horrific. The cold, the wind, the desolation, the lack of oxygen… yeah pretty much the same as camping in the winter (think 30 girls on a 10′ x 10′ raised wooden platform in a blizzard).

Looking to Pickup the Gauntlet

It is the first day of May and we are poised to loosen the lock down restrictions. At least that is the intention of our Governor. The city/county may decide otherwise. As for me, I’m in a wait and see mode. Since it is likely that I will continue social distancing, I decided that I would participate in Kim Hawke’s Merry May Poetry Play. She tossed down the gauntlet and I’m picking it up! Game on! I have several poems that I wrote for the April National Poetry Month that I planned to post in May and surprise! one of her prompts fits some of my poems. So here we go: MMPP prompt – Try a tanka. The tanka is a Japanese form consisting of 5 lines with a syllable count of 5-7-5-7-7.

I keep old letters
Try to conjure memories
And fail every time
My mind a waning moon shrinks
Until it blinks to darkness

Friendship fades away
My family becomes strangers
I forget my name
Wander in my mind’s mazes
Until I find heaven’s door

It is one of my biggest fears – to develop dementia. I’ve seen it happen to friends’ parents and even family members. Sparky’s mother is starting to have problems and is on a medication to assist with her memory. It scares me.